Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mexican Chocolate Capirotada

Capirotada is simply Bread Pudding. Traditional Capirotada doesn't contain chocolate, by hey, I figured it couldn't hurt. Actually, I like this one even better, because of the Mexican chocolate of course. Capirotada is one of those traditional Mexican dishes often served around the holidays. And we're certainly right on top of those glorious days, aren't we? I really hope you enjoy my version of Capirotada. I added the traditional recipe at the end for all you non-conformists! :) Enjoy.

Chocolate Capirotada

8 slices of pound cake, cubed
3 eggs, beaten
1/3-cup milk
1-teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried cherries or raisins
1 medium granny smith apple, diced
1 cup Jack cheese, shredded

Chocolate Sauce*

Preheat oven to 350°.
Butter a glass-baking dish.Place half the pound cake cubes into the baking dish.Mix eggs, milk, cinnamon and brown sugar and pour half of this mixture over the top of the cake cubes in dish.Sprinkle half pecans, cherries or raisins, apple, and cheese on top.Add another layer of pound cake cubes followed by the egg mixture and remaining ingredients. Top with chocolate sauce.Bake 25 minutes or until cheese has melted. Serve with remaining chocolate sauce if desired.

*Chocolate Sauce:

1 cup half and half1 stick cinnamon½ disk Mexican Chocolate, choppedCombine half and half and cinnamon stick in medium sauce pan and heat to scalding. Lower heat and add chocolate. Whisk until chocolate melts and remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick before using.


Traditional Capirotada (Bread Pudding)

8 slices bread, toasted
3 eggs, beaten
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup toasted, slivered almonds
½ cup unsalted peanuts
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup raisins
1 medium apple, pared, cored, and thinly sliced
1 cup Jack cheese, cut into small cubes
Panocha Syrup*

Preheat oven to 350º.

Butter a square baking dish. Place four bread slices in pan.Mix eggs, milk, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Pour half of milk, eggs, and sugar mixture on top. Sprinkle with half of remaining ingredients.Add another layer of bread and repeat as above. Top Capirotada with Panocha Syrup and bake 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve warm or reheat, covered, for 15 minutes.Makes 8 to 10 servings.

*Panocha Syrup:

2 cups brown sugar2 cups water1 cinnamon stickCombine ingredients in a medium size saucepan. Bring syrup to a boil. Lower heat and simmer approximately 15 minutes until syrup is slightly thickened. Remove cinnamon stick.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hershey Kiss Cookies for my Son

What an amazing week we’ve had. Thanksgiving gave us a beautiful day with gorgeous weather. Actually we reached 70 degrees last week. Then, a few days later, we had a three day Winter Storm to end all winter storms. Rain, sleet and snow. We even made CNN news.

On Sunday Bob and I had a lovely surprise. My son Mikey came home for an unexpected visit. He was here on business but also to visit us. My heart was elated. I cried like nobody’s business. It was then that I decided to make his favorite holiday cookies.

These cookies come from a small cookbook I bought 20 years ago when we as a family traveled up to Pennsylvania to visit my mother-in-law. We drove to Hershey, PA on a day trip to visit the factory. (I’ve always been a chocoholic!) Driving into the town, we could smell the beautiful aromas of chocolate. The whole town was surrounded by chocolate. They even use the shells of the cocoa bean to fertilize the wondrous gardens they have.

In picking up various souvenirs at the shop, I also purchased this little cookbook. A few simple recipes made with Hershey’s chocolate. Of all the wonderful creations in this book, one stood out above the rest: Cocoa Kiss Cookies. So for 20 years we’ve been baking these every holiday season.

The tasty shortbread/butter cookie dough flavored with cocoa surround a delicious Hershey’s Kiss. I usually have to make 3 different types: one recipe without the pecans for my daughter Lily, one recipe with pecans and no powdered sugar for Bob and the original recipe for my son Mike.

I do hope you try these. They really are very good. Enjoy. :)

(Look at the delicious Hershey's Kiss right in the center of the cookie.)

Cocoa Kiss Cookies
(from the Hershey’s Make It Chocolate Cookbook)

1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup Hershey’s cocoa
1 cup finely chopped pecans
54 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
Confectioner’s sugar

In a large bowl cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Combine flour and cocoa and blend into creamed mixture.

Add nuts and combine until well blended. Chill dough for 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mold 1 tablespoon of dough around each unwrapped Kiss, covering Kiss completely.
Shape into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool slightly then remove from cookie sheet onto wire rack.

Roll in confectioners sugar. Makes about 4 to 4 ½ dozen cookies.

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